Differences between Christianity in Europe and the USA?

I have an Italian exchange student staying with me for a few weeks. Today, in conversation, when we overheard yet another conversation about Jesus in a book store, he commented on how different religion was in the USA and Europe. As he put it "In Europe, Christians want to be left alone. In America, they... show more I have an Italian exchange student staying with me for a few weeks. Today, in conversation, when we overheard yet another conversation about Jesus in a book store, he commented on how different religion was in the USA and Europe. As he put it "In Europe, Christians want to be left alone. In America, they want to be in charge."

Having been to Europe a few times, I have to agree with him. Although I do think it's a fairly recent development in American Christianity.

Do you agree? Why do you think these differences have taken place? What allows them to flourish?
Update: New Catholic, the exchange student who made these observations is something like 50th generation Catholic.
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